When Devizes housewife Wendy Greenspan casually commented on an internet article she'd read twelve years ago that made her laugh out loud, she had no idea that she was about to start a terrible shit-storm by simply typing LOL.
Within minutes Ms Greenspan had received countless e-mails asking what LOL actually meant - and being a diligent and well intentioned early days internet participant she dutifully responded to every single enquiry by stating in a stock e-mail that LOL meant 'Laughing Out Loud.' To her detriment she failed to obtain exclusive rights to the term, and she's regretted it ever since.
"How I wish I'd slapped a copyright on LOL," Ms Greenspan confided. "If I only earned a hundredth of a penny for each time the acronym was used I'd be a billionaire right now, like that Murdoch chap who owns outer space and half of the rail network."
Unfortunately Ms Greenspan didn't slap a copyright on LOL, which is unfortunate because LOL has since become the most widely used acronym in the universe.
"I didn't think anything of it at the time," she said. "I mean, who in their right mind would ever actually laugh out loud at something they read? I couldn't honestly envisage many people actually laughing out loud at anything, unless they're watching a Russell Brand stand-up gig or something like that. I like Russell; he's ever so funny. He's such a comedy genius that I sometimes succumb to a slight involuntary dribble of wee before he even opens his mouth. He's a proper LOL character, like Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle. With Russ it's the wild eyes and the mad hair that crack me up and make me LOL and wee a bit. With Frankie it's the jokes about that woman with the big boobs' disabled child, and with Ricky it's that crazy dance he did on The Office. I can't watch them any more. They make me LOL and wee too much. It got to a point where I almost ruined the sofa. Now I have to make do with things that don't make me LOL and wee a bit, like John Bishop and Monty Python repeats."
Sadly Ms Greenspan has had to give up LOLing on doctor's orders, yet ironically Google research reveals that the missed opportunity acronym is used an average of 83 billion times daily and is starting to catch on in China. Ms Greenspan was quite philosophical about the fact that she failed to copyright LOL.
"Being a billionaire would have proved an immense challenge," she said. "And I'd have had to have a new sofa delivered every other day. The riches wouldn't have been worth all the hassle. I'm just happy in the knowledge that my singular surge of inspiration has proved to be a godsend to bunch of illiterate internet morons who have turned cyberspace into an intellectual scrapyard by commenting LOL on just about anything and everything like it actually means something. Still, I did get a certificate from the British Sofa Manufacturers Guild because apparently sales of new sofas are soaring as people all over the country LOL to their heart's content and wee a bit.
"It's all Russell Brand's fault. When I started ROFPMSLing I knew there was no turning back. What's done is done and you can't undo it. You can't look back. But my solicitor says I can sue the internet as LOL is my intellectual property, so I'm going to do that. My solicitor is a lovely man and a long standing Facebook friend and he's told me he'll only charge me £500 an hour to take up my case and sue the internet. I must admit I wasn't terribly keen on the idea at first, but he confided that he has his eye on a nice new sofa and at £500 an hour he's a bit of a bargain really. Next time I think of a globally phenomenal acronym I'll be sure to copyright it. SIDOW (Slight Involuntary Dribble Of Wee.) I'll let you know how I get on."